Ian Eagle: ‘Bucks Hired Kidd To Get Serious About Winning’
Ian Eagle has been working with the Brooklyn Nets in some capacity for the last 20 years, and it seems that everything that goes on with that franchise is almost always wild and crazy.
This past week was no exception.
While it can be argued that the Nets’ most recent soap opera – losing Jason Kidd and hiring Lionel Hollins – may have resulted in a better coach, what in the world actually transpired?
“Yeah, this summer soap opera that’s taken place (has been crazy), you’re right,” Eagle, the CBS and YES Network analyst, said on The John Feinstein Show. “The persona of the organization has always had that feeling of one step forward, two steps back. And in the move to Brooklyn, a lot of that began to fade away. They stated to build an identity – and yeah, trying to compete with the Knicks is not easy in the New York area, but they made some headway.”
Hiring Jason Kidd was a big part of that.
“(That) had a lot to do with creating some buzz and bringing back a name from the past that would help build the brand,” Eagle said. “I think (ownership) believed Kidd could be an excellent coach – and being around the team as I was the last year, I thought he improved a lot from day one to the playoffs. You could see that he was developing a style and a philosophy that could turn into wins, that could transition to being a consistent winning coach. The stuff that was happening behind the scenes (was) not uncommon, but it’s rare that it gets to that level and out publicly the way that it did – and it blew up. It imploded.”
“I think Kidd, who is a very skilled poker player, played a couple of hands here,” Eagle continued. “And his feeling on this was it was a win-win for him. He made a push for power. If he got the power, that was a win. If he didn’t get the power, he had something in his back pocket, which was a job waiting for him in Milwaukee based on a relationship he has with (Marc Lasry). And Jason realized there would be a very soft landing for him financially and, probably in the end, more control. And that’s the way he played this thing.”
So, does Kidd just not care about what he did to Larry Drew? Or is he just ignorant about what he did to Larry Drew?
“I think that’s an excellent question,” Eagle said. “I know Jason pretty well. I don’t think anyone knows him that well. He’s guarded. But I’ve had a good relationship with him back to his playing days (and) certainly had a really good relationship with him this year in his one year as a head coach.”
“But Jason, he’s cold-blooded. He’s a killer. He was a killer out on the court. That’s what made him such a great player. There were games and stretches where he willed the team to win. he put the team on his back. And I saw it. I’ve witnessed it. As a coach, you could tell there were moments he was going to do it his way – and that’s a positive.”
“The problem when you start getting into the human side – I don’t know. Look, he’s fully aware. He’s aware of everything that’s going on around him. He’s a smart guy – a really smart guy. But I think he looked at the situation and thought to himself, ‘Hey, if it’s not me, it’s going to be somebody else.’ This owner was looking to make a big hire and trying to announce to the rest of the league that they’re serious about winning in Milwaukee.”